Emotions and deceptions hit an all-time high in a show that just keeps getting better, as trust starts forming in all the wrong places. It’s almost crazy how far we’ve come in just five episodes and how much we know about our characters and their deepest secrets, even with mysteries yet to be solved. Scene by scene, conversation to conversation, we’re coming to learn more and more about what drives and motivates our characters; what haunts them, what frightens them, what hurts them. It’s writing and acting like this that helps us see these characters as people, replete with all their requisite neuroses and issues. In short, I wish there was a way to fall asleep and wake up next Wednesday. (Theoretically. Also, without dying.)
Winter maintained its first place spot in the ratings and jumped up almost a whole point in the process, bringing the count to 14.1%.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Young maps out the contours of Soo’s face with her fingers, noting with a small smile that the bridge of his nose is high. Soo’s not in the mood.
Moo-chul figures out that Myung-ho is from PL Group, and doesn’t seem to be doing Soo any favors when he keeps reiterating to Young’s fiancé that that other Oh Soo he’s looking for is a con artist, gambler, all around bad guy, etc. Once again I ask: Does this guy want his money or not?
Once they’re in the car, Soo scolds Young until she breaks out in a fit of giggles, deducing that he must take after their mother with his incessant nagging. She seems so happy and carefree now… does she actually believe he’s her brother now? Eek.
He gives her the clothes she wore earlier and leaves her in the car alone to change.
Moo-chul figures out belatedly that Myung-ho is running his own investigation to find the real Oh Soo, but he practically hands over every piece of evidence Myung-ho would ever need to find the truth, including a magazine with So-ra (whom Myung-ho recognizes from the business meeting) and a picture with Friend Soo, Soo, and Jin-sung.
Even though he claims that Friend Soo is the conman out of the three, it seems like a pretty half-assed attempt. Moo-chul must really hate Soo.
He calls Soo up to tell him what happened – mainly that he gave a picture of the real Oh Soo to Myung-ho. It’s like he wants to torture Soo and it works, because we can see Soo’s hand shaking in fear.
“The day where we both have to square our debt will come,” Moo-chul warns him before he hangs up.
But we see that debt consists of more than money as we flash back through Moo-chul’s eyes to the day Hee-joo happily told him she was pregnant with Soo’s child. (He was almost a father, too? Sad.)
Moo-chul, then scar-free, was heartbroken. I shouldn’t feel bad for this guy, but I kiiiind of do. Then I remember that he stabbed Soo and I don’t feel so bad anymore.
Since Soo wants to avoid Myung-ho for the time being, he proposes that he and Young take a trip to the beach instead of going home. She agrees excitedly, adding that she wants to ride a motorcycle because he promised he’d let her when they were little.
Hee-joo’s motorcycle accident flashes through his mind, but Soo shakily agrees.
While dragging his sister out of a club, Jin-sung runs into Moo-chul – apparently this is his favorite gangster haunt, and he sort of runs the place. He offers to let Jin-sung switch loyalties and leave Soo for him, but Jin-sung tells him exactly where he can stuff that suggestion. Hah.
But Moo-chul’s got something up his sleeve, since he plans on treating Jin-sung’s sister, already a regular at that club, as a VIP. Jin-sung was dragging her out because drinking runs in the family, so what’s Moo-chul up to? “Let’s see where our paths lead us, Oh Soo,” he smirks. Uh oh.
Secretary Wang calls Soo in a fit when Young doesn’t come home, and he answers from their beach retreat. No amount of yelling gets through to him as he coolly reminds her, “I told you already that you are not our mother, Secretary Wang.” Click.
Soo takes Young on a scooter ride, controlling the bike from behind her so she can feel the wind in her face. She smiles like a child as she remembers riding a bike with her mother and brother, but Soo’s memories are much more bittersweet as he remembers riding with Hee-joo, both of them yelling at the top of their lungs that they loved each other.
In the present, his eyes brim with tears. Young remains unaware.
It’s Hee-joo’s death anniversary, so Hee-sun is justifiably upset when they can’t get a hold of Soo.
Jin-sung’s dad shows up to bring food for the memorial, but it seems more and more like Jin-sung is the real parent. Apparently, along with dad’s drinking problem, he has an addiction to buying cows – so any money that could have gone toward Jin-sung or his sister’s education instead went to… cows.
Dad doesn’t seem too apologetic (but he also seems to have pretty simple thoughts), and just encourages his son to make sexy times with Hee-sun. Hah.
Of course, we know Jin-sung likes Hee-sun, she knows he likes her, and he outright tells her he likes her when he tries to stop her from going after Soo: “Do you only think of Hyung, and not me?” Aww, poor invisible Jin-sung. Only in dramaland would this be possible.
Young picks the worst possible time to start asking Soo about his first love, and she even manages to guess Hee-joo’s name from knowing Hee-sun’s.
Aww, we’re seeing a side of Young we’ve only seen flashes of before – now she’s all chipper and smiling, eagerly pestering Soo even though she knows it might flare his temper. She finally breaks him down enough to agree to talk about Hee-joo, which he claims he can only do when drunk.
So they decide on soju, and Young’s face lights up at the thought of drinking all night with her brother: “I enjoy drinking!” She’s adorable! Ahhh, Show, stop with all this… happiness. It makes me feel like bad things will happen.
Soo opens up about Hee-joo over soju and snacks, though their story is a simple one: Girl liked Boy, Girl’s parents didn’t approve, Girl ran away with Boy. After that, he explains that they lived together, which prompts Young to ask: “And then you slept together?” Soo’s all, Duh, I’m a guy.
The night goes on and they talk like old friends, telling funny stories from their pasts. It’s like you can just see their connection building and strengthening. I suppose the better word would be: Chemistry.
Things get a little weird when Young convinces him to sleep with her for the night, despite his assertion that grown men and women don’t sleep together.
Young: “But you’re an oppa.” Soo: “Even an oppa is a man.” Er. Technically, yes, but… um. Where’s that therapist?!
Soo finally agrees to lie down so she can touch him and get a feel for what he looks like, even though he warns her: “You know where to touch and where not to touch, right?” Haha. He seems way more scared of this than she does. Then again, if she’s the only one operating under the assumption that they’re siblings…
She measures the height of his body by the span of her hands and all sorts of other things, marveling at his height and the softness of his hands. When she finally plops down next to him he turns to her, gently running the back of his fingers along her cheek as he wonders whether she can really tell what he looks like through touch. (Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle, folks. This is going to be a funky ride.)
Young asserts that beauty standards are much simpler for the visually impaired – if the man she touches has a thick arm and a coarse voice, they’re considered handsome. Plus, she knows he’s tall. “It’s a whole lot simpler than what you people who can see normally nitpick about, right?”
She asks him to give her his arm as a pillow, and closes her eyes as she nestles closer. When he asks why she walked into the river she responds: “If I can choose when to die, then I thought that was the perfect moment. Because you came.” (She says it meaning her Oppa came back.)
She cuddles in closer, wrapping her arm around his side. Soo doesn’t know what to do with his hands, and instead asks her if she no longer doubts his motives in coming to find her. He assumes she’s asleep when she doesn’t respond and moves his hand to her head to pull her away.
But she murmurs “Oppa,” and he immediately reels away, looking like he didn’t even realize what he was doing. “Don’t go,” she says as she snuggles further into his chest. “Stay with me.”
“Okay,” he agrees. “I’ll stay by your side. If you tell me to stay, I will.” But the look on his face seems to say: Shit just got real.
They play on the beach the next morning like no more barriers exist between them. Young reminds him of the promise he made last night: “The promise that you will be by my side every time I ask you to.”
Secretary Wang plays Young’s mother’s piano at home, remembering when she used to watch Young and her mother play it from afar. The look on her face (in the flashback) reads more like longing, and not necessarily jealousy.
Young asks Soo about the man who read his letter to her, wanting to meet him despite Soo’s claims that he can no longer be found. But Young remembers that he was kind to her, because he took the time to tell her that her brother loved her. Huh. Is it possible she’s still suspicious?
Jin-sung calls Soo to tell him to get his butt back to town, but Hee-sun snatches the phone away, furious: “You forgot my sister’s memorial ritual while having fun with another girl?” The news hits Soo hard – he genuinely forgot, the thought hadn’t even crossed his mind.
Hee-sun tears into him and shatters the wooden grave marker Soo made for her sister. “You’re a bastard,” she tells him over the phone. “I promise you, if you don’t die in Moo-chul’s hands, I’ll kill you myself.” Click.
Soo’s all shaken up, so he calls Secretary Wang to pick Young up. She has no idea what’s happening but can hear the change in his voice, and it’s breaking my heart that she looks so lost and afraid. “You’re different from earlier, like a stranger. You’re being cold. What’s wrong?”
But Soo lets his emotions get the best of him, perhaps unfairly placing some of the blame on Young as he yells at her to be quiet. Ouch.
Young’s good demeanor is gone by the time Secretary Wang picks her up, and Soo leaves after apologizing for keeping her out last night. (Strangely, Secretary Wang tells him it’s okay, because she was out of line telling him what to do. That doesn’t seem very like her.)
Young tells Secretary Wang how much fun she had with her brother almost like an attack, adding how happy she thought her mom would be if she saw them.
Young: “When I thought of that…”
Secretary Wang: “…You hated me more.”
Secretary Wang knows her too well, and even as Young’s emotions escalate, Wang remains calm and cool as a cucumber, like she’s dealing with a child’s tantrum.
Even though she claims that all Young’s assets would go to Soo even without a will, Young throws the Myung-ho issue at her, claiming that she forced the engagement with her father even when Young told her she didn’t like him.
“If you distrust me so much, why do you keep me by your side?” Secretary Wang asks. “You can just fire me. I’m just hired help to you. Why? I’m still of some use to you? I became your eyes for you since you can’t see. I manage the company on your behalf since you can’t see. I check around for you since you can’t see, and I drive you around like this.”
“But how did I end up this way?” Young asks accusatorially. Secretary Wang reiterates that it’s a brain tumor, nothing more, knowing that Young blames her for her blindness. She’s fine with that, and claims to be glad that Young will replace her with someone who can protect her. Until then, she tells Young to use her up.
Soo makes it to the forest and Hee-joo’s broken marker just in time for Moo-chul to arrive, smirk firmly in place. “Why is there only one grave?” he taunts. “There should be two.”
And he keeps going on about Soo’s unborn child, purposefully wheedling Soo in the worst way. You unbelievable bastard. You unbelievable bastard! If I could reach through this screen…
Luckily, Soo can handle himself, and starts punching the daylights out of Moo-chul.
A flashback shows how he’d handled the baby news from Hee-joo, and it wasn’t pretty. Afraid the baby would turn out to be a bastard like him, he’d shunned her after the news, despite her literally holding onto his ankles as she cried, “Don’t go. Don’t abandon me.”
He left her on a motorbike, and she tried to follow him on her own. Ahh, so this is what happened directly before the accident, and this is the last conversation they had. Ouch. Moo-chul was there to see everything, too. Maybe that explains some of his hate for Soo?
Back in the present, the fight gets brutal. (I’m pretty sure Moo-chul spits out a tooth at one point.)
And then we flash back to the past, where it’s like we thought – Hee-joo got hit by a truck trying to chase after Soo, while Moo-chul followed from behind. As she lied on the pavement teetering on the brink of death, her hand went to her tummy. Her baby. This is awful.
In the present, Moo-chul backs Soo against a tree: “I told you I loved Hee-joo, but you said you loved her more. So I said, ‘Fine. Be good to her.’ Since Hee-joo was my everything, the first and last woman I loved. The one I loved long before you even met her. But you dumped her while she was pregnant.”
Soo’s anger starts to fade, replaced by sadness and regret: “I was so young back then,” he starts, but Moo-chul cuts his excuses off. Soo can’t say he was too young, or that it was because his parents abandoned him, because Hee-joo was nineteen just like him.
“You’re a bastard worse than your mom and dad who abandoned you,” Moo-chul spits.
Soo’s face contorts in sorrow, his voice breaking: “I really didn’t know she would die.”
Moo-chul disrespectfully disagrees, claiming that Soo knew very well that he was Hee-joo’s entire world, especially since she left her parents for him.
Then, he proffers a pill, one which causes instant heart failure and death, so effective that it can’t even be found in an autopsy. He tells Soo to take it himself or give it to Young, and he’s sure Soo will choose to save himself because he’s the lowest of the low.
Soo sinks to the ground, sobbing. Poor thing. Before he leaves, he fixes the grave marker.
Secretary Wang refuses to sign the will Lawyer Jang presents to her, trying to prove that she doesn’t want any of Young’s money. She mentions Young’s trip to the beach and asks him to take her there sometime: “I’m asking you out on a date.”
Lawyer Jang become so flustered at the thought that he literally trips over himself. Aww. I wonder if she’s being sincere.
Secretary Wang seems to be trying very hard to get Young to like her, even giving her a camera she asked for, noting that she has the same hobby as her mother.
Young treats her colder than ever and refuses to take a picture with her, using her next breath to order Secretary Wang to find the other Oh Soo, the one who read her the letter. “You said I should use you,” Young reminds her.
She uses the camera to record another video diary in her mother’s basement, explaining to the oppa who’ll eventually watch it that she used to make them so he could catch up on her life easier when they met later – but now, she’s leaving the video for when she dies.
“I think my brain tumor has relapsed,” she explains to the camera. Apparently she’s been having those migraine headaches for two months now, and explains that she decided against going to the hospital in the time she was with him. The idea of getting brain surgery again and going through painful chemotherapy when Soo will already be gone is too much for her.
Young: “If there’s time left for me, I want to spend it with you having fun, living happily-…” A painful headache cuts her words short, but she perks up when she hears noise. “Oppa, I think you’re here. I’m going to go see you.” Aww.
Soo finds her waiting in his room after he gets out of the shower, and she asks for an apology – no one’s yelled at her like that in twenty-one years. He’s still in a foul mood from the day and tells her to get lost, even when she pulls up her sleeve to reveal a cut on her arm. (I think she got it tripping over the tripod.)
She leaves without a word, and Soo finally feels guilty enough to follow… but she knew he would, and was simply waiting outside his door. “Are you going to my room to apologize?” she asks. “I accept.”
Back in his room, she asks for the reason behind him yelling. We know he’s thinking back to Moo-chul’s suggestion that he kill Young, since the poisonous pill now sits between them ominously.
Young can feel the change in the air: “You’re still strange right now. The mood in this room is cold and heavy, like something bad happened to you.”
With his eyes fixed on the pill, Soo tells her the truth about forgetting the day Hee-joo died. Young unknowingly knocks the pill over when she moves to wrap her arms around his shoulders in order to comfort him.
He wants her off and away from him, causing her to stumble across the pill case. When she asks what it is, he tells her it’s an amulet.
Soo: “A friend went through a lot of difficulties to get it. If you take it when you want to die… without anguish, pain, or despair, they can disappear in one moment. He said you’ll feel total peace.”
So Soo’s just told her he has an Instant Death pill, and Young’s so morbid that she actually finds it interesting. “Give it to me,” she says, without missing a beat.
“Should I?” Soo wonders. “Should I just… give that to you?”
Young nods. Arghhh. What’s WRONG with you people?
To be fair, I do kind of get what’s wrong with these people. We’ve been given plenty of reasons as to why Soo and Young are the way they are, but it still frustrates me that people with diseases in dramas just don’t get treated. Once, just once, I want to see a melodrama where a character goes, “I need to see a doctor about this brain tumor, because I’d sure like to live.” I suppose that would negate the genre, but still.
This doesn’t seem to be a case where Young isn’t getting treated just for dramatic effect, since she explained that she’s gone through treatment before, and knows firsthand how painful and awful it is. I understand that, but Young’s constant readiness-to-die is a character trait I’d like to see change down the line. I want her to want to live, and since Soo is NOT helping right now, he gets to stand in the corner until next week.
I really like that Moo-chul got some fleshing-out this episode, and that his character revelations built upon the hints that were dropped in earlier episodes. This time, we finally got to see the full picture of what happened, so we can know where both men are coming from. Even though I gained a better understanding of Moo-chul, I do think he’s coming at this all wrong, not to mention the fact that he’s not a very good guy. The scene where he railed on his fellow gangsters for helping that poor kid out only highlighted the difference between someone like him and someone like Soo, since we know from Soo’s past that he’d sooner help someone before hurting them, as long as it was in his capacity.
Moo-chul gets faced with those same choices, but as we’ve seen, the decisions he makes are much different. It’s a nice breath of fresh air to know that his deal with Soo is more along the lines of revenge rather than I’ll-hate-you-because-the-script-told-me-to, because now Moo-chul gets a journey we can at least be aware of even if we don’t care about his personal outcome. I love that our characters have solid reasonings to back their actions, even if their actions can be all kinds of wrong, because we’re at least given the choice as to whether we want to sympathize or not. And it’s working out well for characters like Moo-chul, Hee-sun, and the growing-more-enigmatic-by-the-hour Secretary Wang. Seriously, I still don’t get her, but I love that my perceptions of her keep changing.
As far as Young believing Soo to be her brother goes, I think she’s at least 90% sure. If there is a remaining 10%, I’d attribute it to her lingering interest in finding the original Oh Soo, like she needs just that last bit of conformation. Even without it, she still trusted Soo enough to let her guard down, and it was so gratifying to see her smiling and laughing because of him. They make a cute couple and have some really natural chemistry that’s capable of transforming in the blink of an eye, like when Soo started to lose himself during their cuddling scene. That was intense.
I know, we all comforted ourselves to sleep at night with the thought that the skinship bits were less squicky because Young didn’t see Soo as her brother and vice versa. Only now she does seem to think he’s her brother, and while all her actions read as innocent, it’s not necessarily the same for him. It gives every scene of theirs that added layer – you know, the kind where you’re not quite sure if you should be enjoying a scene as much as you are. Or is that just me?